Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed legislation that will allow licensed farm distilleries to sell their liquor at the New York State Fair, recognized county fairs, and not-for-profit farmers' markets. This new law will help local farms to grow by providing distilleries with the same access to marketing opportunities currently allowed to licensed wineries, farm wineries, and farm breweries.
"Farm distilleries and the agricultural sector play a major role in New York State's economy," Governor Cuomo said. "By easing restrictions on farm distilleries and permitting tastings and sales outside of their premises, we are giving these distilleries an equal chance to compete in the industry and a better opportunity to reach new customers and grow their businesses. This in turn will offer a needed boost to the state and local economies, while allowing New Yorkers and visitors to enjoy products of the Empire State."
Currently farm distilleries, which are required to primarily use New York State agricultural products in their New York State labeled liquors, are allowed to sample and sell their products only on their distillery premises. On the other hand, farm breweries, farm wineries, and licensed wineries are not subject to these restrictions and are allowed to sample and sell their New York State labeled products at fairs and markets across the state.
The new law will allow farm distilleries to hold liquor tastings and sell their New York State labeled products off premise at the State Fair, recognized county fairs, and local not-for-profit farmers' markets. However, they are required to have a State Liquor Authority permit, as well as have a distillery representative on site to ensure that tastings and sales are conducted responsibly. Providing farm distilleries with the same access to potential customers and markets as other wineries and breweries will help local farms to expand and flourish in New York. The law will be effective in 180 days.
State Senator John Bonacic said, "I am pleased Governor Cuomo has signed this legislation into law. New York's competitive growth in the small distillery industry creates jobs and offers great local products. Highlighting niche industries such as local yogurt production and local beers and liquors, as Governor Cuomo has been aggressively doing, enhances these industries and better informs every one of the diverse and growing areas of our New York economy."
Assembly Member Kevin Cahill said: "New York's brewers, distillers and vintners have made their mark by producing exceptional home grown products and driving tourism. Governor Cuomo clearly recognizes the value of creating synergies among these growing industries and his support will help these small businesses expand and draw attention to the top quality spirits made right here in our backyard."